Boston Globe Features In Stitches Knitting Classes

Alanna Nelson knitting teacher Weston MA In Stitches

Globe photographers caught this image from classes at In Stitches in Weston.

The Boston Globe featured the small business In Stitches in the Metro West edition on May 24, 2015.

Jean and Tom Holtey maintain an amazing yarn and thread collection at their Weston, MA store, and online. As they cater to MetroWest knitters, crocheters, embroiderers and needlepoint enthusiasts, I’ve been lucky enough to coach knitters there in the last year. What a scintillating group of adventure seeking stitchers they are! This photograph was one of dozens taken, but I bet that weighty camera captured other fabulous views. Knowing that Jean spoke with Cindy Cantrell for 45 minutes, I found the article’s angle so heartening: the companionship and comfort of stitching.

Little did Cindy realize that so many people still knit. In the last 15 years, dozens of media blips proclaimed that “knitting isn’t just for grannies any more.” More than four million members interact on the “social media for fiber lovers” site called Ravelry (which in 2014 reported that 84 of 10,000 US citizens were members).  I was a bit incredulous that there are still so many people behind on their knitting stereotypes.

Time for us to knit in public, my friends! Time to yarn bomb, perform the craft in new settings, to wear amazing finished objects of fabulous fiber content.

Let the stitches continue!

Kleam Kerchief in Rowan Cotton Lustre

When Janet invited us when the Rowan yarn rep stopped by in February, I had no idea I would fall for their new bulky weight ribbon yarn called Cotton Lustre. When Jess first showed the ball of ribbon yarn, we were all a bit “Eh.” When she showed us the knit swatch, we all said “Ah.”

The first bags of Cotton Lustre arrived without the pattern books, so it was time to take matters into my own hands. Thus, with 2 skeins of Lustre, I whipped up any airy kerchief in a lace mesh pattern, which I share here with you!

Kleam Kerchief free pattern

Setting sail with Judy’s Magic Cast ON

One of the unexpected gems from FiberCamp last weekend was Anne’s method to create a knitted tubular cast on. There’s oodles of options, but I’d never seen her version, which uses Judy’s Magic Cast On. Surveying my knitting circles this week, I realized that many have yet to try this versatile cast on technique.

I also hadn’t explored Judy Becker’s book about other ways to use this cast on. So I ordered Becker’s book from 2011, .
Beyond Toes: Knitting Adventures With Judy’s Magic Cast-On (aka JMCO).
Now, of course, I’ve got several projects I would love to try. Stay focused, Alanna, those Master Knitter corrections need to be in the mail before sailing season begins on May 1.

I’d love to see ways any of you use JMCO in your projects. Links in comments, please?

Go ahead, mock my cables

Harry Callahan knew the minute he drank the sugar spiked coffee that things aren’t like usual. As I plan out a toddler Aran sweater, I seem unable to keep things predictable. So I’m incorporating cables and mock cables in my work… just to spice things up. What’s the difference?

mock cable tutorial knit by Alanna Nelson
Direct cables rearrange the order in which you work stitches to create twisted and traveling patterns across a knitted fabric.

Mock cables use increases, decreases and slip stitches to embellish the fabric. Take this swatch, “Stacked Buds” from Erika Knight’s Cables and Arans. The mock cable is created by slipping one stitch, knit one, yarn over, knit one, then passing the slip stitch over. Mock cables tend to create columns of cables. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them used in a way that they would travel across the fabric. However, if you’ve got a pattern, I’d love to see it.

traveling direct cables knit by Alanna Nelson
In addition to Knight’s stitch dictionary, Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns has a great selection of mock cable patterns. Walker has these patterns set aside in one section, whereas Knight scatters them throughout the book.

When designing my sweater for the Master Knitter requirements, I incorporated traveling and column cables, which you see at right.

Having lost many cable needles, improvising with tooth picks and twist ties has happened. With mock cables, there’s no worry about losing needles. I’ve fallen into the habit of physically rearranging the stitches when working direct cables. I do cherish a lovely pewter cable needle ring given to me by a knitting friend, made by Leslie Wind, I believe. It’s the perfect choice for projects with slippery yarns… but I digress.

Go ahead, mock my day (hate it when I’m punny!)

Implications of holiday project hopping.

Normally, my knitting focuses on project not process. While thoroughly enjoy meditative moments knitting, my goal is to create wearable and home decor goods. (The word “goods” reminds me of high school, that ridiculous class whose name I forget that had the test question “_____ buys goods and services.” I answered “Money.” WRONG! The correct answer was “Credit.” I apparently missed the focus of the chapter ).

Anyway, December was quite a productive month for small knitted objects. I knit the second cuddly kitten in memory of our beloved “Gatto di lusso.”

Using Norah Gaughan’s free Berocco pattern Celestine, I created what I thought would be a new star for our holiday tree. This turned out to be a fun knit, but much better suited to topping the fern. Oh, well, try again next year? It makes a fun decoration to bat around the house… great kids’ toy?

Alanna Nelson knits holiday ornaments
I also finished another Lenveloppe, this time with garter stitch on size 8 needles with Berocco Boboli.
And, of course, there was time to take a soft and squishy ball of Cascade Epiphany into the annual Christmas hat.Tim14



In between, I imagined other possible projects to begin. “Why am I such a skittish project starter these days,”  I asked hypothetically at one of the knit classes shortly before Christmas.

“Because you’re avoiding that Master Knitter work,” one of the knitters stated emphatically.

She’s right 🙂

A couple days after Christmas, I did finally open up the box of corrections that arrived in mid August. It’s not fun, but I’m plugging through them. Then again, now that the holiday knit projects are done, isn’t it a good time of year to nest and make home improvements?